Advanced Automatic Updates

Advanced Automatic Updates adds extra options to WordPress’ built-in Automatic Updates feature. On top of security updates, it also supports installing major releases, plugins, themes, or even regular SVN checkouts!

While this will be useful for the vast majority of sites, please exercise caution, particularly if you have any custom themes or plugins running on your site.

Getting hacked cause I forgot to update WordPress, themes, and or plugins, is simply idiotic. Now it may happen from time to time that a WordPress site gets hacked and keeping it updated wouldn’t have made a difference, but for that one time where it could have prevented getting hacked, it’s rather stupid that the only reason it happened was because you forgot to log in and run an update. If you have many sites to manage like me, you may forget about some sites, you may not have time, or the hack happens just as the vulnerability is fixed and made public…

This is where Advanced Automatic Updates comes in. Why bother with updating websites manually when they can do it automatically? Now, something really important to note here is that this plugin only updates. Your site may break due to changes in plugins, themes or WordPress. The question is, would you rather have downtime due to an update you can reverse, or due to a hack? If you have made custom core changes to your theme, a theme that is available via the WordPress repository (this also goes for plugins), they will of course be overwritten as the updated version is downloaded and installed.

If you make changes to core files in themes or plugins, a simple way to avoid having them erased by an automatic update is to change the version number in the main PHP-file(plugin) or CSS-file(theme). Very often version numbers are pretty low, so if you set it to 1337 or something very, very high, it is unlikely that the plugin will be updated and your changes overwritten. You can also solve this problem via plugins that “lock” other plugins from getting updated, deleted, deactivated and so and so forth. But more on that plugin later.

As you see in the picture, you can via the settings page set whether you wish to update major/minor version of WordPress, plugins, and or themes. You can also setup so that you get an email for each update that has occurred. This really helps if the site breaks. Getting an email about an update, you might be inclined to check the site and see that everything still works. Or disable email notifications completely. Really depends on the site you are running.